Aric Almirola has been solid this season. In fact, this is the best he’s ever fared in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver enters Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN) on the heels of seven top 10 finishes in his last eight tries.
“This Smithfield team continues to bounce back every weekend,” said Almirola. “Years ago we would do anything for consistent top-10 and top-five finishes, but now it’s just not enough. I’m looking forward to the next round of races where we’ve been good in the past and we’ll be ready to get this win.”
I look for that to continue at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend.
Almirola, has always been good there. With Richard Petty Motorsports, he was fifth in 2013 and sixth in 2014. With SHR, he finished third in 2018 and was 11th last year in his No. 10 Ford.
On July 22, 2018, the Smithfield driver battled adversity from the beginning of the race at New Hampshire when an issue with the right-front tire demoted him to 28th place in Stage 1. He worked his way back into contention in the final stage, when he led 42 laps and battled his teammate Kevin Harvick for the top spot. A caution flag on lap 257 sent Almirola to the pits for four tires and fuel. He restarted third and that’s where he finished the race behind the winning Harvick and runner-up Kyle Busch.
“I was extremely disappointed,” he said. “Even though we earned a top-five, we had the fastest car, hands down. I’m excited to go back to Loudon because the Smithfield No. 10 team and I have looked forward to getting back where we had a chance to win in 2018. We’ve been running up front each weekend, so there’s no reason we can’t get it done on Sunday.”
The 36-year-old Tampa, Florida native has the highest average finish in the series in the last eight races at 5.4, yet he is without a victory. This is Almirola’s best season to date and the first time in his career he has earned consecutive top-five finishes. His five top-fives are the most he’s had in any single season during his nine-year full-time Cup Series career.
Almirola is riding a string of eight consecutive top-10 finishes, the best of his career. He finished fifth June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third June 22 at Talladega, third June 27 at Pocono, fifth June 28 at Pocono, third July 5 at Indianapolis, eighth July 12 at Kentucky, 10th July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, and sixth last Thursday at Kansas Speedway. His previous best streak was a run of six consecutive top-10s in 2019 that began with the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and lasted through the series’ seventh race at Texas.
The No. 10 Ford driver sits eighth in the playoff standings for his career-best points position after 19 races. In his first two seasons at SHR in 2018 and 2019, Almirola was 11th and 10th in the standings, respectively, after 19 races.
Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 23 top-five finishes, 72 top-10s and 790 laps led in 335 starts. He has led a total of 218 laps this year at six different venues.
We know he will have a good starting spot on Sunday, so why not get a potential win?